Crisis was upon us before we even knew it. It was the beginning of 2020, the most recent year from hell that any of us can remember. I had been dealing with the inconveniences of a lingering seasonal illness which seemed to just come and get worse every year in the fall. Then march hit and Covid lock-downs came into existence and everyone was scrutinizing everything and anything their bodies did. While not one to worry much about little things there was something different, and something worse about this year’s version of lingering sickness. I needed to start looking for answers, but that was hard to do because all my symptoms were the same as those for Covid, headaches, fatigue, bodyaches, pain, sinus pain, the list went on. Trying to get a medical appointment was like pulling teeth from an angry horse. Most of what I could get was online and virtual. Most of the plans were “wait and see”. After a few months of trying a few assorted medications and waiting it was time for specialists to get involved as things were only getting worse. I was bounced off a pulmonologist, cardiologist, an ENT, and various other specialists where I underwent function and stress tests and eventually an allergy test. It was discovered that I was allergic to common mold species which occupy the majority of homes in Michigan. So as things got worse I was finally sent to a regional allergist who looked over an environmental test from our home and my recent issues of respiratory distress and his advice was “get out”.
See, the issue is that with exposure to an allergen the allergy tends to get worse. Not only was I allergic to various mold species, but from what I can gather I was also being affected by the mycotoxins that the mold releases. Theses are VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds and they can permeate everything and anything, then they will off-gas from porous materials for a while even after the mold is remediated. For those who are lucky enough to be hypersensitive to them they can cause a whole rash of symptoms of which I was experiencing. Mold is a tricky thing, and is totally into the whole chemical warfare thing. Penicillin is one of the toxins that the penicillium mold makes to kill off its competition.
We knew we had mold, at least small amounts of it in the house. The lab test came back that the levels were “normal” and guidance offered online indicated that homes usually have this level of mold in them. Outside however was 4 times that of inside. The allergist reviewed this report with me and cited these levels as why things were going the way that they were for me.
We needed a plan and we needed it now.
For the uninitiated; we live in a small tourist town in Northern Michigan. The housing market here has gone past insane to ludicrous. There was no way we can afford to sell our home and to move into a dryer area. Nor with the costs of lumber on the rise in early 2021 could we have a shot at affording to remediate and seal the house up to make it safe to remain in. The remediate and repair would be a minimum of about $300k and would take 3 years due to the lack of builders and the housing market demand. Area rentals start at about $2,500 per month, and campgrounds were booked long ago for the summer. So the only option we had left was to live in the marina, and to do that we needed a bigger boat.
So we got out, and moved into our travel trailer for a month or two, in the winter, and we started looking for a boat. There were so many options and styles to choose from. The budget was pretty fixed but there were a lot of projects to choose from. We looked at a few C&C’s, a Countess, and a Cal but in the end those were not what we were after.
It wasn’t until we got to Sandusky Ohio (photo above of our travel trailer setup), where we got our first glimpse of the model we would start searching for. While this was not the boat we would choose for a variety of reasons it was a model that both Kayla and I fell in love with, and Endeavour 38 aft cockpit. This was a heavy boat, and a lot different from most of what you will find on the Great Lakes. This is not a fast boat, but it is a performance cruiser. With 18,000 lbs of displacement and 8,000 lbs of ballast and a higher comfort ratio than the whole lot of IOR rule boats that seem to dominate the Lakes. There is a lot of math that goes into these numbers which produce things like sail area to displacement ratios which translate to a version of power to weight, and how wide the boat is which factors into a comfort ratio. Wider boats tend to roll more verses the skinnier counterparts, but skinnier boats have no room to breath when down below. But the long story short, we were after a heavy boat that could move and not be a slug.
This was not the boat we were after, and this one needed a lot of work and upgrades. We did put an offer in on it but the dealer was convinced that they could get 10k more than it was worth. So we moved on, a week later we were in Waukegan, Il where we found another Endeavour 38 by the name of Katie Marie. While we were going to be going above budget a bit on an offer for this boat she had many upgrades and only required work to catch up on a lack of maintenance. This boat would eventually become our home, Animaashi.
So we had it settled for the most part, a new home to move into, an inland see to cross, and many many trips through Chicago and the traffic.
Our next entry will be the story of our crossing Lake Michigan and our slow but sure progress up the Michigan coastline.